Kayaking on Titan? Fly over exoplanets? Epic new NASA video contemplates future space travel


A new NASA video announces a series of real-life missions from the agency as a preview of an “Exoplanet Travel Bureau” of the future.

The minute short on youtube, released on October 19, reinvents a series of exploration posters published by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 2015 and 2016 in the form of animated futuristic mini-adventures. (The posters themselves were inspired by the art that the Works Progress Administration commissioned from advertise the national parks of the United States between 1936 and 1943, trying to boost employment during the Depression.)

In new video from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, paratrooper dives towards huge super-Earth HD 40 307 g, a family in a bubble-shaped spaceship looks at the icy moon Enceladus detonate geysers of water, and a parent and child watch a rocket take off from their Martian colony, among other imaginative ways future humans experience worlds near Earth.

Related: These 10 super extreme exoplanets are out of this world

An image from a new NASA video imagines what it would be like to <a class=kayak the lakes of Saturn’s moon Titan.” class=”expandable lazy-image-van optional-image” onerror=”if(this.src && this.src.indexOf(‘missing-image.svg’) !== -1){return true;};this.parentNode.replaceChild(window.missingImage(),this)” sizes=”(min-width: 1000px) 970px, calc(100vw – 40px)” data-normal=”https://vanilla.futurecdn.net/space/media/img/missing-image.svg” srcset=”https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/Seku3LLz3SZv3M3vZCctr9-320-80.jpg 320w, https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/Seku3LLz3SZv3M3vZCctr9-650-80.jpg 650w, https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/Seku3LLz3SZv3M3vZCctr9-970-80.jpg 970w” data-original-mos=”https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/Seku3LLz3SZv3M3vZCctr9.jpg” data-pin-media=”https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/Seku3LLz3SZv3M3vZCctr9.jpg”/>

An image from a new NASA video imagines what it would be like to kayak the lakes of Saturn’s moon Titan. (Image credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center / Chris Smith (KBRwyle) and NASA / JPL-Caltech)

“While our robotic explorers visited our solar system, the only place beyond Earth where humans have stood is the moon. It’s also the next place we’ll be sending astronauts. But not the last! Although humans haven’t visited Mars yet, we plan to add boot prints to the rover’s tire tracks there now, ”Goddard representatives wrote in a description accompanying the video, noting that the The objective of the project is to consider the distant future of exploration.

The whimsical tour extends far beyond NASA’s budgeted plans, of course. The agency is firmly focused on reviving human exploration of the moon, with hopes of landing astronauts on the moon again in the 2020s. Artemis program will be carried out with the international collaboration of other space agencies, at least some of which are planning pilot their own astronauts on these missions.

An image from a new NASA video imagines what it would be like to float above the lava-covered exoplanet 55 Cancri e. (Image credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center / Chris Smith (KBRwyle) and NASA / JPL-Caltech)

As for March, the first NASA could send people there is 2035 – but that was an estimate released under the previous administration in October 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic and a presidential election changed the constraints and priorities of the US government. Technological, legal and financial delays are also slowing down Artemis, which is waiting for key equipment such as space suits and human landing systems proceed.

Along with the new video, Goddard also announced a link to the new Exoplanet travel agency website, which reframes the agency’s ongoing exploration as a set of extraterrestrial tourism opportunities. In addition to the JPL posters, the website includes a new series of posters showcasing NASA observatories hunting planets past, present and future: the The Hubble Space Telescope, the James Webb Space Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope, the Kepler Telescope and the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS).

A behind the scenes video Goddard posted separately on YouTube shows how the new video animations were made using actors and a green screen, which is a backdrop placed in the background of a camera shot to allow for digital effects, background images and other post-production changes.

A memorable scene in the video shows a person sitting on a box with a kayak paddle, simulating the experience depicted in a kayaker’s exploration video on the Saturnian moon. Titan. “Goddard video specialist Chris Smith used green screens and computer graphics to bring these scenes to life,” Goddard said. in the declaration accompanying the main video of Exoplanet Travel Bureau.

Goddard also released a side by side comparison video of JPL posters and new animations so you can spot the similarities and differences. A suite of JPL illustrators created the original posters (you can see the full list of people on the poster website) led by creative strategists Dan Goods and David Delgado.

Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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